Machine Learning is the fundamental technology that enables computer programs to mimic the ability of humans to learn and reason. This technology powers things like self-driving cars, facial recognition, algorithms to identify what is in a photo, fraud detection for credit card companies, systems that identify which traffic entering a network might be malicious, programs that decide whether a medical image indicates a sign of a significant disease, and chat bots.

About the Major

Scientists and engineers who use machine learning face a wide range of challenges, from data wrangling to visualization to sophisticated mathematical modeling, and often must synthesize solutions by drawing on knowledge from a wide variety of sources.

The Computer Science: Machine Learning emphasis combines courses from computer science, math, and statistics to provide students with a combination of theory and practical skills needed to succeed in this field. Broadly speaking, these courses include:

  • Computer Science fundamentals
  • Mathematics fundamentals
  • Statistics fundamentals
  • Specialized courses in computer science, math, and statistics that focus on machine learning in depth
  • The machine learning capstone or undergraduate research

Topics include conventional machine learning algorithms, databases, deep learning, regression, probability, statistics, natural language processing, calculus, and optimization.

Careers in Machine Learning

The BYU Machine Learning emphasis prepares students for competitive positions in many of the world’s best companies. The emphasis also serves as excellent preparation for graduate work in machine learning and the broader field of artificial intelligence. Graduates of this program will be able to curate and maintain data, build models to effectively analyze this data, and understand the principles of modeling and the basis of the models themselves in order to draw accurate conclusions from these analyses. Graduates will be able to provide insight into how machine learning can be used in a variety of applications, and will be able to follow ethical and responsible practices when designing applications.


Requirements can change from year to year. When you declare a major, you follow the requirements that were in force that year. You can see an advisor to switch to the current requirements if desired.

Historical Data Science Emphasis Requirements

The department previously offered a Data Science emphasis, but this was renamed to the Machine Learning emphasis in Fall 2023. See a department advisor if you would like to switch from Data Science to Machine Learning. Following are the previous requirements for the data science emphasis: